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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 64

    Document Title
    Annual Report of the American Civil War Commission

    American Civil War Commission

    Enabling Authority
    30-272 (8.)

    Executive Summary
    Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission
    HB 1440 (2006)
    Virginia Code 30-266 et seq.

    Annual Executive Summary of Interim Activity and Work

    The 2006 General Assembly passed House Bill 1440, creating the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission for the purpose of preparing for and commemorating the 150th anniversary of Virginia's participation in the American Civil War. Speaker of the House William J. Howell is Chairman of the Commission, and Senator John H. Chichester serves as Vice-Chairman. Other members include: Delegate Albert C. Eisenberg, Delegate Algie T. Howell, Jr., Delegate Johnny S. Joannou, Delegate R. Steven Landes, Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr., Senator R. Creigh Deeds, Senator Janet D. Howell, Senator Mamie E. Locke, Senator Stephen H. Martin, Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr. of the Virginia Historical Society, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. of Virginia Tech, and Mr. John P. Ackerly III.

    The Commission held three meetings during the 2006 interim. After organizing at its first meeting, the Commission learned that Virginia is leading the other states in planning for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by being the first state to officially form a sesquicentennial commission, and received a presentation on Virginia's role in the Civil War by renowned historian, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. The Commission agreed with Dr. Robertson that this will be a commemoration, not a celebration. It will be a solemn remembrance, done out of respect for those Americans - - men, women and children, black and white, from the north and the south - - who lived, fought and died for that which they believed. The Commission also considered ways to make the commemoration relevant to all Virginians, including immigrants, some of whom came to the state to escape civil wars in their native countries.

    The second meeting was held at Pamplin Historical Park near Petersburg, Virginia. The chairman unveiled a logo for the Commission, along with its vision statement: "Understanding Our Past, Embracing Our Future." The Commission received presentations on the centennial of the Civil War, as commemorated both nationally and in Virginia. Several presentations were offered on sesquicentennial planning to date. Dr. Charles Bryan discussed the efforts of Civil War 150, a group of historical societies and museums that has been meeting to discuss and plan for the sesquicentennial period among the states. The Commission was briefed on the National Park Services' plans for the commemoration, which include improving interpretive media and launching a website. Staff of the Civil War Preservation Trust offered an overview of that organization's efforts to preserve battlefield lands in Virginia and noted plans to encourage further federal and state funding of battlefield preservation. A report recommending that the Museum of the Confederacy move from its current location was briefed, and the importance of the Petersburg Campaign was highlighted. Last, the Commission's host, Will Greene, offered an overview of Pamplin Historical Park and led members on a tour of the park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier.

    The final meeting was held in Richmond. Overviews of the upcoming annual conference of the Civil War Preservation Trust and the new American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar were given. Commission members discussed upcoming budget needs, such as hiring a Development Officer for fundraising and grant writing, and offering planning grants to destinations that will figure prominently in the commemoration. There was discussion about whether to construct a central building for the sesquicentennial, or to use the Internet and print materials to point visitors to the many museums, exhibits and activities throughout the state.

    An Advisory Council to the Commission was formed, which will serve in a consultative capacity to the Commission. Commission members gave direction to the Advisory Council, which plans to meet in the spring. Advisory Council members include historians, representatives of museums, battlefields, state and local government, the education community, and other interested persons and groups.

    For more information on the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, please visit: http://www.virginiacivilwar.org.

    The Commission does not anticipate filing a further report at this time.